Hiring professional movers comes at a cost, a cost that can vary from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars depending on the distance you’re going, the moving company you’re using, and what services you elect.
A moving quote or estimate comes in handy when you want to know what to expect in terms of cost. That’s the whole point. It can save you from nasty surprises at the end of the day.
There are three main ways that moving companies provide quotes:
- An on-site (aka in-person) visit
- Video estimate (done through a platform like Facetime)
- Over the phone
It is important to note, however, that movers are only legally bound by the information on your written estimate, so until it is signed and stamped, you can treat this as a mere ballpark.
So, how much does a moving quote cost?
Well, it depends…
Types of Moving Company Estimates
Here are the types of moving estimates you need to know about:
- Binding moving estimate
If a moving company gives you this type of estimate, they are required to honor that quote on condition that nothing changes.
Provided that the items you’ll be moving are the ones outlined in the inventory sheet, what you end up paying should exactly match the quote provided in your binding estimate.
- Non-binding moving estimate
As the name suggests, a non-binding estimate does not tie the mover to the quote they issue you with. This type of estimate is only a practical guess of what your move is likely to cost.
That means you’ll most probably end up paying more than your quote states – typically it’s not every day that the actual bill will be lower than the estimate, although it very well might be. The final cost will depend on how much your belongings weigh and the services provided.
While the final bill may significantly surpass the non-binding estimate, the mover is only allowed to bill you 110% of the written estimate at the time of delivery in line with what is known as “the 110% rule”.
If there are any outstanding charges, these will be billed later.
- Binding-not-to-exceed moving estimate
This type of quote is similar to a binding estimate, only difference being that your moving bill will be less than the estimate provided – that is, the bill will not surpass the moving quote.
Tips to Keep in Mind when Getting Moving Quotes
- Avoid signing blank documents
That’s right, if a moving company asks you to sign some blank or incomplete estimate, you need to make a beeline for the exit and don’t look back.
Usually, this is a loophole for them to inflate the charges with preposterous costs later and is a red flag that you’re dealing with some dodgy characters. A professional mover operates above board and lays their cards on the table, so you always know what to expect.
- Get an accurate inventory list
To ensure everyone is on the same page, ask for a full inventory of the list of items the moving company has covered in the written estimate.
Also known as a table of measurements or cube sheet, scan through the inventory sheet to confirm what they plan to move to avoid getting into loggerheads on the big day.
It’s easier to come to an agreement before you commit yourself to the mover – not so post-move.
This list should also estimate the number of moving boxes that will be required – assuming you plan to source them from the mover.
- Opt for companies that charge per weight
Ask the mover how they arrive at their rates.
Ideally, you want one that charges by the pound as opposed to the volume of your consignment which is measured in cubic feet, an illegal practice in many states as customers end up grasping the wrong end of the stick.
But labor-only services (for example packing, unloading, etc.) are usually hourly-based.